Esoteric London

No. 756: Duke Street Hill, SE1

Posted in Architectural, Crime and Punishment by esotericlondon on January 21, 2013

© Roger Dean RED_4433 copy

Duke Street Hill, London, SE1. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

Travels in England, During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth – Paul Hentzner, 1797:

On the south [of the City], is a bridge of stone eight hundred feet in length, of wonderful work; it is supported upon twenty piers of square stone, sixty feet high, and thirty broad, joined by arches of about twenty feet diameter. The whole is covered on each side with houses, so disposed, as to have the appearance of a continued street, not at all of a bridge.

Upon this is built a tower, on whose top the heads of such as have been executed for high treason, are placed on iron spikes: we counted thirty.

[ Just off the modern day London Bridge in Duke Street Hill, Southwark you will find two large granite slabs made into rudimentary seating, one of which features in the photograph above. A plaque upon one of them reads;


These granite slabs are coping stones from the former London Bridge which was dismantled in 1967 and re-erected in Lake Havasu, Arizona, USA.

Designed by John Rennie, the bridge was opened in 1831 and has since featured in many films and books including those of Charles Dickens.

Substantial parts of the abutments and walls still remain and are preserved as part of the fabric of the new bridge, where two large granite stair chambers (including ‘Nancy’s steps’) still exist as part of the original Rennie southern vault.

Hentzner is of course referring to an earlier version of the bridge in his text. R.D.]

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